*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
May 27, 2022, 01:18:41 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 81 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: New days upon us  (Read 7943 times)
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« on: August 12, 2002, 12:41:59 PM »

Hi everybody,

This is the first of my many post-GenCon posts. I doubt I'll be able to get even the first wave of them on-line by the end of the week.

The Forge is on the map these days. Not only was the booth recognized throughout the con as the "Hey! Lookit those guys!" place to be, but the Diana Jones award was conferred to me not only for Sorcerer alone - it was especially due to the independent-movement and the creative, cooperative efforts of the entire Forge community.

This matters a lot. Here are some things I'd like everyone to consider carefully.

1) Retaining creator ownership is an option, not a moral mandate. A number of people seem to be under the misapprehension that I think giving up full ownership (see below) is a bad thing to do. I can only say, the only bad things are something that you do not want to happen, or something that directly hurts someone else. My outlook is that RPG publishers should consider the ownership options for their games very carefully, in full knowledge of the ownership/economic consequences of each option. I am convinced that most people in the hobby do not have the information they need to arrive at a decision about it - hence, my full purpose here is disclosure, not to dictate or preach what anyone should do in order to be regarded, by me, as a good person.

That said, I think that creator ownership is the option that I want to promote and support most actively. That's a personal choice on my and Clinton's part. The Forge represents the existence of that choice we've made, but this site is not a defiance or an insult to the other viable options available. (The non-viable options, on the other hand, are in year-round open-season.)

Therefore, in describing the Forge or its mission to others, I'd ask that everyone try to describe what it does provide to anyone who wants to publish an RPG or engage in discourse about them, rather than what it "defies" or "rebels against," or any such thing.

2) We need better relations and perceived interaction with RPG.net. One person came up to meet me at GenCon and said a lot of really nice things about the site et cetera, but when I invited her to post here, she said she was a writer for RPG.net, the implication being that the sites are hostile to one another and some kind of stigma or inappropriateness would apply.

This bugs me a lot. I like RPG.net and its role in the hobby, especially since their forum format and moderation policy changed a while ago. I posted my reviews there while the Forge was inactive. I provide its link not only on my site but in the text of the games I publish. The one thing I could not stand - the characteristic discourtesy and "point and shoot" style of discourse there - seems to be a thing of the past.

The most important element of a future, fully positive interaction is this: RPG.net is the place to develop  buzz and general interest in your game. That aspect of the site is absolutely compatible with the highly-focused (but smaller-audience) goals of this one.

In the past, I've said a lot of harsh things about RPG.net, never on-line but certainly in private emails or in conversations. Much of that was during the days when, I think it's fair to say, the site could best have been described as a bear pit. Now that those days seem to be over, I'm going to change my tune and be pretty loud about the new one.

3) A hell of a lot of people are going to want forums here. This poses two problems: (a) people who aren't independents, but say (in all honesty) that they are, and people who are just starting out and perceive getting a forum as the next step, when we think they aren't "there" enough yet.

Regarding (a), Clinton and I are pretty firm on our very strict definition of Independent (finally). It is composed of three things:
- One person or a very small group of persons created the game. Extensive use of freelancers does not qualify.
- That same person or group paid to publish the game and continues to receive and manage the gross income from it.
- That same person or group exercises full executive control over the continued publication and development of the game.

Regarding (b), this becomes a real problem. I shudder at the thought of thirty or forty (or a hundred!) specialty forums. Perhaps a separate page at the website for all of us? I don't know. This is going to be a serious issue over the next six months.

All comments and suggestions on these three issues are welcome!

Best,
Ron
Logged
Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2002, 01:16:08 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

2) We need better relations and perceived interaction with RPG.net. One person came up to meet me at GenCon and said a lot of really nice things about the site et cetera, but when I invited her to post here, she said she was a writer for RPG.net, the implication being that the sites are hostile to one another and some kind of stigma or inappropriateness would apply.

This bugs me a lot. I like RPG.net and its role in the hobby, especially since their forum format and moderation policy changed a while ago. I posted my reviews there while the Forge was inactive. I provide its link not only on my site but in the text of the games I publish. The one thing I could not stand - the characteristic discourtesy and "point and shoot" style of discourse there - seems to be a thing of the past.


The problem here is that the perceived hostility between RPG.net and The Forge is caused not by the moderators or owners of each (Ron and I both post on RPG.net regularly, and Allan Sugarbaker, who I believe owns RPG.net now, is a great guy), but by forum posters on both sites.

What we need to do as a forum is not refer to RPG.net as in any way inferior or sub-standard. I've tried to say in the past (to little avail) that the two sites serve different, overlapping, communities. It's as if there were two online communities, one focused on wine enthusiasts, and one focusing on grape growers. There'd be some overlap, but there should be no competition.

As far as the people on RPG.net that dislike the Forge - well, I'll admit that it appears there are more of these. That's probably because of the higher readership there. I'm not sure what to do about them except prove their hostility wrong by meaningful interaction. I've tried to e-mail a few of them, and have gotten rebuffed every time.
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2002, 01:41:58 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

3) A hell of a lot of people are going to want forums here. This poses two problems: (a) people who aren't independents, but say (in all honesty) that they are, and people who are just starting out and perceive getting a forum as the next step, when we think they aren't "there" enough yet.
...
Regarding (b), this becomes a real problem. I shudder at the thought of thirty or forty (or a hundred!) specialty forums. Perhaps a separate page at the website for all of us? I don't know. This is going to be a serious issue over the next six months.


From an technical standpoint, I love the idea of a separate page for speciality forums. (I can go into why if need be.)

From a readership standpoint, it's going to stink. Already, people don't scroll down the page to see what forums are below. (When I created the Anvilwerks forum, Zak Arntson, my partner in crime with Donjon, didn't know it was there for two days.) Unless you're reading the Riddle of Steel forum, chances are that you're not scrolling down.

Do you think people will really go to a separate page to read speciality forums? I don't.
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Matt Snyder
Member

Posts: 1380


WWW
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2002, 01:48:58 PM »

Quote from: Clinton R Nixon

Do you think people will really go to a separate page to read speciality forums? I don't.


Yes, I think they will. Certainly, my saying so doesn't mean to indicate it's a non-issue. Yes, there will be some visibility issues. People, particularly new Forge visitors/members may not realize the specialty forums are available. But I think that you could make it apparent. Have the first or "main" forum page have everything from Site Discussion to Actual Play. Then a link to specialty forums below. But ABOVE everything create perhaps a standard navigation, whether clean HTML or dropdown menu like RPG net.

You might alos create an 'über' forum page that lists everything, but not make it the default forum "home."

At any rate, I think the success of GenCon is a clear indication that if we build it, they will come. Putting specialty forums on the second page can work.

So can I get my forum now?!? ;)
Logged

Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Nathan
Member

Posts: 313


WWW
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2002, 02:05:24 PM »

Ron, congratz on the award. Sadly, I missed it. :(

But alas, all I can say is that this is a good battle to fight. I post on rpg.net, indierpgs, and now actionroll.com (yeehaw!), and I wish I could help bridge the gap a bit more. I think there is a tendency to look at one feature of the Forge and say ughh.. I don't go into the GNS forum much -- but I regularly check out the Publishing forum. A friend of mine who is doing the layout for EAK (Brett of PIGames) regarded the Forge as "nothing much of interest", but I think I mentioned the Publishing forum as the de facto forum for questions about indie publishing. I think I caught him posting there a week later... Good stuff! :)

I tried this week to post a few thoughts about a silly scifi game I was fumbling around with in the Game Design forum at rpg.net -- I had one response. Over here, I think I would have had a few more to say the least..... The Forge rocks and rolls....

Well, I have to get off to go finish moving. :)

Key is: We need to be positive in all instances and specifally share the ways the forge has been helpful. Let's be honest. This isn't a war, and the only way things are going to get better is if we have fun and have a good attitude about stuff. I've never been flamed for being positive.

Thanks,
Nathan
Logged

-------------------------------------------
http://www.mysticages.com/
Serving imagination since '99
Eldritch Ass Kicking:
http://www.eldritchasskicking.com/
-------------------------------------------
pigames
Member

Posts: 43


WWW
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2002, 03:54:31 PM »

Actually, what I said was, "Some things are pretty good. But, overall I found little useful."

I do like the Publishing Forum. However, upon asking a question regarding personal preference for game stats (I think it was in the design forum), I received many answers which were the equivalent of mathematical thesis.

In fact, I check the forums daily for new posts. I try to contribute when possible, but often have to muddle through rants. Now, I'm not trying to offend anyone ;). I think I suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder  :)

I'd like to see more reviews and articles. But, I know how scarce time is for most people, including myself.

Brett

P.S. Congrats to Ron and thanks to all those who represented the indie game designer at GenCon.
Logged

Mytholder
Member

Posts: 205


WWW
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2002, 01:34:18 AM »

As regards rpg.net - One of the major problems is the perception that the Forge is mainly concerned with GNS theory. We all know that any discussion of catagorising games has a fairly high probability of heading straight to a flamewar. I'd, well, bury the GNS essays and discussions and make them a clear subset of game design.

Extra forums...how about splitting the forum index page into two, general and company-specific, and having two quick-jump dropdowns at the end of each page? To draw extra traffic, you could have a randomly picked forum topic from the speciality forums at the top of each screen...a little box saying "people over at Adept Press are currently talking about 'Ron's Winning An Oscar'". (Take a look at http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com for one way of handling this.)

You could also have www.indie-rpgs.com/MyCompanyPage, for those who are willing to pay a reasonable hosting fee...
Logged
Demonspahn
Member

Posts: 158


WWW
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2002, 05:22:06 AM »

Re: second page visibility, would it be possible to put some sort of table on the main page that only listed the titles of (with links to) the specialty forums on the second page or would this be too ugly?  That way people, especially new people, could see the contents of the second page from the main page but if they wanted all the user/activity info they would have to go to the second page/forum.  

Also, has any thought been given to listing the specialty forums alphabetically?  It seems like that would be easier for people to locate the forum/game/company they were looking for, especially if you make a second page.

Pete
Logged
Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2002, 08:02:22 AM »

Quote from: Mytholder
As regards rpg.net - One of the major problems is the perception that the Forge is mainly concerned with GNS theory. We all know that any discussion of catagorising games has a fairly high probability of heading straight to a flamewar. I'd, well, bury the GNS essays and discussions and make them a clear subset of game design.


I'm not sure I agree with this.  GNS Theory is already plainly one forum among many.  IMO it's better that when people from the Forge discuss this matter on rpg.net (and personally I post far more often there than I do here) they point out that the Forge is more than GNS.  The people who've already decided they hate this site won't listen, but a whole lot of people reading the thread who may not be posting will.  Give a link to the Forge, talk about your own personal experience, that's what builds bridges.  You shouldn't be changing here to appease people who may have little interest in the site anyway.

Personally I have little interest in GNS.  I refer to it occasionally here but I very rarely use it elsewhere.  Several other Forge posters are in my position.  When we post at rpg.net with respect to the Forge it's important to mention that we post here without any problems and without GNS.

The other great canard at rpg.net is that posts here get deleted if Ron and Clinton disagree with them.  I have no knowledge, and little interest, in how this site was run in its early days or who has the right of those arguments.  But, I do know that no post has been deleted (except at the poster's own request) since I've been hanging out here.  When the old "you can't post at the Forge unless you kiss Ron's ass" thing comes up just say politely that that isn't true.  If you can, point to threads where there is polite disagreement.  You don't have to search hard on the Forge to find people disagreeing and not towing some illusory "party line".  Point people to those discussions.

I actually think the Forge is kinder in many ways to total newbies than rpg.net, which can be a bearpit, I like that element of it and think it is part of what makes the site successful (within reason, too much bearpit and the site becomes unpleasant to use).  The Forge is robust, but tightly moderated.  The bears here are generally well behaved and polite.  Your ideas may get mauled, but you yourself generally won't be.  This place is enthusiastic, not elitist.  That's worth reminding people too.

Final comment, occasionally here I've seen posts which are in fact elitist and make snide remarks about rpg.net.  I'd say generally that if someone is thinking about posting derogatory remarks about rpg.netters bear in mind you may just have put off a lurker who would have made some great points on the debates here.  There's nothing wrong with someone wanting to know which superhero game is best, dull as it is to read for the fourteenth time.  What are they supposed to do, buy them all to find out for themselves?
Logged

AKA max
Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2002, 08:14:19 AM »

Quote from: Balbinus
The other great canard at rpg.net is that posts here get deleted if Ron and Clinton disagree with them.  I have no knowledge, and little interest, in how this site was run in its early days or who has the right of those arguments.  But, I do know that no post has been deleted (except at the poster's own request) since I've been hanging out here.  


The only posts that have ever been deleted here are:

 - Duplicate posts, which I delete whenever I see them
 - Posts that the user specifically requests deleted. (I don't even do this any more. With the new version of the forum software, you can delete your own posts.)

The problem is: how do you fight a lie? I can't prove no posts were deleted without the author's request.
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2002, 08:25:13 AM »

Quote from: Clinton R Nixon
Quote from: Balbinus
The problem is: how do you fight a lie? I can't prove no posts were deleted without the author's request.


From my perspective, it's meaningless for me to say "that's never happened" because the person claiming it has will just say "yes it did and I was there and you weren't".

That's why the correct response is to say "whatever, but I've been at the Forge a fair while now and I can say for certain that it's never happened while I've been there and I'm none too convinced it happened before I arrived."

You can also say (provided it's true), as I have at rpg.net, "well, I've disagreed with Ron on stuff in the fora and nobody has even once suggested I take anything back or tried to delete my posts".  Last time this topic came up at rpg.net I posted precisely that.  I said that I'd disagreed with people here (which I have) and that nobody has ever voiced the slightest criticism of me for doing so (which they haven't).  As long as I'm polite and I bother to read whatever I'm responding to the worst I ever expect to face here is someone saying "look, we're too far apart on this one to usefully discuss it."  Usually though if I disagree with someone here they'll debate the point with me and hopefully we'll both advance our views.

As for the "cult of Ron", I like Ron's work and I consider Sorceror and Sword one of my all time top ten purchases (something else I've said on rpg.net).  I don't remotely consider myself part of a cult of Ron though, he's a nice guy who's written a damn good game and cares about the hobby.  Anything more is just occasional fanboyism from some posters who really like his work.  Next time someone talks about cult of Ron, ask them if rpg.net ever has fanboyism about a particular designer's work?  It happens there just like it happens here, it's enthusiasm and excitement and no bad thing.
Logged

AKA max
Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2341


WWW
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2002, 08:35:13 AM »

Very nice series of posts, Max.

Paul
Logged

My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2002, 11:08:57 AM »

Hi Everybody,

One more thought on newbies to the Forge.

One comment I encountered in regard to the Forge (as opposed to almost any site on the net, let alone RPG.net), is that it seems hostile.  When I ask further about this, it turns out what they're talking about is the fact that its moderated and that there are rules.

Now, I happen to love this about the Forge.  Threads don't derail willy-nilly, threads aren't resurected out of the ancient past (like I did on my first post here), and so on.  The fact that Ron and Clinton have what essentially amounts to an editorial policy (the policy for reviews, interupting potential flame wars, ending threads when they've run their course).

Now, I love all of this.  But for a some people (again, not just from RPG.net), these are strange, and apparently threatening actions.  It's simply not how most of the internet works.  It's taken as intrusive -- if only, perhaps -- because people feel like their walking into a Japanese Tea Ceremony and are awkward because they don't understand the ritual at all.

It took me a while to find my metaphor, but I see the Forge like a live action magazine.  Ron and Clinton don't just provide a place for people to type whatever comes into their head at that moment.  It's a focused discussion.  They simply do have an editorial agenda -- regarding both content and format.  It works great if you understand that.  But if you have no idea what you're walking into, especially if you're used to other sites (which his completely understandable), it really might come off as abrasive.

And let me clear: there's nothing wrong with an editorial agenda. But I think it's best to be up front about it.  It's a light one, but it's there, and that's rare for most chat sites.  Let's just tell people -- "Look.  This is the Forge.  It's like a magazine.  Anyone can publish... But there is a masthead, there is an editorial policy. Here's what it is..."

I would really recomend in the new formatting that the guidelines be a big shiny button at the front.  (I mean, every site has them, but who reads them?  We all know what site guidelines are like right?  Well, not at the Forge.)

I'd also offer that my magazine metaphor should be next to  (Or something else appropriate) net to the Button -- not burried in the guidelines, that will alert people right off the bat that they're entering a site unlike those they are used to.  At that point the person might just walk away... But on the other hand, it might prepare newcommers for what their getting into -- and allow them to appreciate a unique site with the propper context.

So, there it is. After speaking in private emails with a lot of folks over at RPG.net it seldom came up about GNS being the problem.  Most people were simply caught off guard by how the place works.  Again, I can see why.  It's a special place -- and we'd all be better of approaching the guidelines (and our greetings to new folks) with the open mind of a beginner.  

I remember when I posted my first post, resurecting an old thread, the first response was "Oh, boy.  Incoming post to the moderator."  That was it.  Not a clarification for me, or even a hello.  (Ron came in and took care of that, and the first poster deleted his comments.)  Now, usually, this isn't the way people behave here.  

But let's always remember that how people arriving here think about posting will almost always be different from most other places our new guests have posted before.

Take care,

Christopher
Logged

"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
damion
Member

Posts: 198


« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2002, 11:52:22 AM »

FirstOff: Congrat's to Ron and all the other Indie RPGers of Gen-Con.


Well Chris got most of the good newbie comments (good points BTW) but I have some stuff I'd like to add.

I think the greatest hurtle to newbies is the huge amount of information they have to assimilate.  Theoretically speaking to make an intelligent post on the GNS forum you'd have read Ron's essays (not to bad) and skim all previous threads (bad) to make sure your question had not already been covered.    
        Unfortunatly, lexicographical search depends on how people express their ideas, so it's limited.  I don't think there is a solution to this, but I just thought I'd express it.
 
        Maybe somewhere have a list of reccomeneded reading threads per forum? Or possibly threads per topic(probably to much work...)? Forum wise the easy example would be Fang's Scattershot forum which would be helped alot.

        Another thing would be to encourage people to add their links to the resources section. I can think of alot of times I'd tried to look up a game, and not found it. Not sure any way to do this though.

-Just some thoughts.
Logged

James
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2002, 11:44:52 AM »

Hi Damion,

Two thoughts in reply to your post:

1) I always recomend to new vistors they spend some time surfing for a while, just reading and finding out all the back material on subjects they're interested in.  I did that, and it really helped me get up to speed here.

2) I've noticed that if someone posts on a topic that's been covered, they'll be pointed to appropriate posts with a smile from regular Forgers.  I do think, however, that this habit needs to be made clear in the guidelines.

Take care,

Christopher
Logged

"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!